April 4, 2019

The cheapest place to buy baby formula

Often, I think about what was going through my mind two years ago or one year ago and how the thoughts I have now are a complete 180 from my former life as a teacher and army wife in Colorado.
Two years ago, I was just hoping to move to a new job and thinking about the stress of the IVF process that was ahead of us.
A year ago, I was constantly making sure this baby was kicking and hoping our house didn't burn down.

Now, I think about formula prices.

This isn't sponsored and it's not backed up by the data and receipts or statistics.

But, I have a good memory so, I can tell you what my experience has been in buying baby formula.

Oh look. Back when we thought that someday he'd take a pacifier so we kept one on us.

We started Wells on Similac back in July. At the hospital, they gave us the recommendation to use Similac because it was what they kept on hand. They said to buy the ready-to-eat liquid that's already mixed because there's much less of a chance of bacteria growth. So we bought the $8 bottles of Similac from Walmart for about 3 months and we went through about 5 a week. For about half of that time, I was mixing it with whatever I pumped. When I stopped pumping, he just drank the Similac and he always seemed to have reflux or an upset stomach from it, when it was just the Similac. I couldn't figure out why he all-of-a-sudden was sick all of the time. He would spit up half of what he ate and it was awful to watch him squirm and cry. Also, he was eating twice as often because he wasn't keeping it down. Then, my friend said we needed to try Enfamil because both of her kids did really poorly on Similac.

So we went right to Gentlease and he hasn't had an issue since. IF you have the same issue, I highly recommend Gentlease (the purple container). He's actually had regular Enfamil since as well (the yellow container) and didn't have any issues with it either.

Here's what I've found...

Since the only store we had in Laramie was Walmart, that's where I bought it. It's about $31 for 29.1 ounces of regular old Gentlease. Sometimes they had the Neuro-Pro or the Premium in this size and that was $35. But if you buy anything smaller than the almost 30 ounce container, you're going to be paying more per ounce AND buying more to get you through a week (I tried to only buy it once a week..it's a lot of work to haul an infant to the store for just formula), which means paying twice as much per trip to buy the amount you need to get through a week.

Giant Eagle
This is a chain in Pennsylvania. It's a huge, annoyingly expensive grocery store. However, they have a good selection of anything and everything you might need (and they have really good sushi). I bought Gentlease there once a month ago because another mom gave me a coupon for $9 off of Enfamil and she uses Similac. Since it's costs about $5 more on average, I still saved $4 on my weekly formula buying.

Actually, it's the same price as Walmart and they usually have the same type of selection. However, I don't do my grocery-buying at Target and an extra stop is inconvenient, unless I already need to go there. It goes without saying that a random trip to Target is generally kind of dangerous anyway, when it comes to walking out with a cartful of things you didn't know you wanted or needed. However, Target is where I buy diapers so I usually stop in once every three weeks and may pick up formula if I'm there on a day where I need formula.
In the cold winter months (because January and February were particularly awful in Pittsburgh), I would just order diapers online from Target and they'd be delivered in 24 hours, which was awfully convenient.

Disappointingly, Amazon doesn't actually sell the Gentlease Neuro-Pro or Premium in the big container where you get the most ounces for your money, or the least amount of money per ounce, if you want to think of it that way. They sell the regular Gentlease in that size, but it costs exactly the same as it does at Walmart. You might say Well, it's easier to buy at Amazon because they deliver and sure, that's true. But sometimes Amazon deliveries get pushed back a day or two and nd that's really inconvenient when you're counting on a formula delivery.
They also have this one for $38.99 and I just got TWO of them at Costco yesterday for $41.99.
Amazon does sell giant 6 or 12 packs of the formula and, I haven't done all of the math but, I don't buy those for one reason: Scott would love for me to have a stockpile "just in case" but I know what I would do. I would use them all up. There would be no stockpile because I'm not one to stockpile. I like to use things up. I like empties. I love throwing away empty bottles of bath/body products and cleaning products.
So I've only ordered formula from Amazon once because I thought it'd be convenient. It showed up at 8pm when I needed it (like needed it) for the next morning and that was too close of a call for me. Also, it wasn't any cheaper, so there was no real benefit.
I really wanted a subscribe-and-save option for formula, like the do with diapers, but such a thing doesn't seem to exist.

This, I've found, is the clear winner.

I got two of these for $41.99. That's 40+ ounces for $42. Normally, with my former cheapest pick, I had been getting 29.1 ounces for $31. And while that seems comparable, this kind from Costco is the Premium, so it'd actually cost me somewhere between $35-$42, depending on where I would buy it.
I don't have a Sam's Club membership, but I'm *assuming* it'd be similar. Costco had Regular Enfamil and Gentlease. They also had several varieties of Similac, but I didn't check them all out.
I know I won't be going to Costco to buy formula each week but it's nice to know that it's there and, honestly, going to Costco has always been such a pain and hassle to me. This will get me there, and using that membership we pay for, more often.

There's a few Costcos here but the one that's closest is in a shopping area on The Waterfront. It was blissfully peaceful and empty on a Monday afternoon so I might have to do that every month or so.

Did you use formula? Where did you buy it? I have 3-4 more months of this ahead of me and then all of this useless knowledge can move to the back of my brain.


  1. I didn't use formula but I recommend signing up for coupons from these companies. The birthing classes we went to had us sign up before the baby was born so we'd have the coupons coming right away and in case the baby didn't nurse. They also sent containers of both powdered and pre-mixed for us to use - which were then donated. I never had to use the coupons but I was able to give them to moms who could.

  2. that's the formula we used for K as well. but dang, it's so expensive!

  3. Raising a baby aint cheap, is it? : )
    I'm sure this post will help many mommas!

  4. We used Gentlease too once Imogen was about 6 months old and I got it on Amazon. $150ish for something like 120 oz vs paying $20 something per small can at the local grocery store. Lol. I have 2 boxes of “refill bags” left of the Gentlease that doesn’t expire until January so that’ll be helpful if we need it this fall.

  5. We supplemented with Gentlease and actually one of my friends bought a can of it as a "Welcome baby" present (they asked what milk we were using)--which was a SUPER appreciated baby gift. :P He stopped drinking formula around 4 months and now drink some kind of stage-2 formula/powdered milk. Here, pediatricians don't recommend giving normal milk to kids until after 2? I think it's mostly just a cultural thing and I could probably just give him milk...but cow's milk is about $4 for a liter and wouldn't save any money now that he's on the cheaper powdered milk for toddlers...so I guess we'll just stick with the powdered milk. He doesn't love it, but he'll drink a small cup each day.


Comments make my day!